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Pushing the technology envelope

In the Internet space, Azzman is not worried of competition from new players Time dotCom and Maxis Net or even established rival TMnet.
Mimos Milestones 1999
November Launched iVEST, a locally developed advanced 128-bit Internet security and digital signature system, to enable secure e-business to flourish.
  Collaboration with Ericsson to develop the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) platform and applications and promote use of Internet on mobile phone and other wireless devices.
December Co-branding agreement with Lycos Asia for Jaring homepage to be positioned to attract e-tailers.
  Collaboration with Measat Broadcast Network Systems, operator of the satellite pay-TV service Astro, for a new service called @stronet that offers multimedia broadcasting and Internet access at speeds of up to 6.5Mbps by April 2000.
  Engages IBM and Mesiniaga Bhd as consultant for Mimos Semiconductor's systems to improve customer service and supply chain management.

"We started with connectivity, but now we are moving into content creation and community development. It's not connectivity that counts but what sort of value-added services and applications you can offer. We believe we are well positioned to take advantage of that," he said. He sees the Internet is going to be generating a sizable chunk of future revenues and is aiming to spawn Web enterprises as the next goal for the company. "The growth strategy is to spin off satellites. The subsidiaries won't be out of orbit--the gravitational pull will still be there--but there's no hands-on. It will be at arm's length but still connected to our system," he said.

Azzman cited the flurry of dot coms enjoying a rally in recent months on the Nasdaq as examples of opportunities and did not find their lack of profits worrying. "Buyers of dot com shares are anticipating the future growth of those companies. And it may be justified. We want to be in that business. We should be in that business."

Azzman added that there no plans, however, to list Mimos, which is still government-funded and owned. "We want Mimos to remain focused on R&D and not subservient to shareholders on the kind of activities it should do." In the next five years, Azzman said Mimos will continue to be a knowledge-based company that creates value from that knowledge. "The value may not be solely profit motivated, but also transforming and influencing other companies to find their own value."

Despite reaching lofty heights last year, Azzman assured that Mimos will not be sitting on its laurels but will continue to push the technology envelope. "The environment changes. It is very dynamic. You have to be agile."

Prime Minister Mahathir, at the same November visit, described Mimos as Malaysia's "Starship Enterprise", the flagship of a fleet of cyber businesses. "This mother ship will share its expertise, thereby giving cyberpreneurs the confidence to go where no businessman or woman has gone. And it will always be on standby to help its fleet establish new colonies in cyberspace," he said.

Azzman does not suggest he will always remain the captain. "The secret of creating an organization is to make yourself redundant. I think this 'juvenile' (company) will have to determine its own future," he said.

A Web enterprise is born | A place in the sun | Pushing the tech envelope
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